I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend "a conversation with Presidents" on Friday afternoon in Toronto. Bill Clinton and George W Bush, the last two former President of the US, took the stage together in a casual conversation about many different topics. Boy, were these guys impressive. They are both brilliant, humourous and quick on their feet. I was in awe watching them answer various tough questions about their presidency, the controversial decisions that they made and the ones that they did not make and why.
What was most impressive was the honesty and candour with which responses were given. Sure, these men are no longer presidents so the pressure of the world is no longer on their shoulders. However, they have no obligation to be open and candid, they just chose to be. It made me realize that candour is a characteristic that is sorely lacking in our world today. Too many people are quick to assess blame and even quicker to deflect it towards someone else. We can all take a lesson from Clinton when he admitted that allowing the genocide in Rwanda was one of the biggest regrets of his life and he will be living with that forever. What a refreshing response from a very intelligent man.
Great leaders admit mistakes and they learn from them and move on. It was nice to see that principle in action. That shows integrity.